RETURN TO WORK
WORKERS planning to return to the workforce after a career break, whether it was for maternity leave, injury or caring for a spouse, can cast fear aside by being informed and drawing on their resources.
Career Confident director Helen Green says career breaks are becoming more common but workers should not undervalue credentials and life experience gained during time away.
She advises workers to assess their options and goals.
Temporary, contract or voluntary work may be a good starting point.
START WITH SELF-ANALYSIS
“If your circumstances allow, don’t rush headlong into job searching,” Green says.
“Time taken to evaluate your values, skills and life stage/responsibilities, can pay dividends.”
Ask yourself questions such as whether returning to your previous occupation is desirable, what new qualifications may be needed, what emerging jobs may suit, and who can help support you in the return-to-work process.
KNOW THE INDUSTRY
Research industries by reading government jobs’ reports, job advertisements and social media posts from specialist recruiters.
“Knowledge inspires confidence,” Green says. “What has changed or is evolving in your field of work or related fields and how can you best position yourself to capitalise on this?”
Identify such things as whether registration or certifications need to be updated, or if a computer refresher course could be helpful.
“Keep a look out for free or low-cost training in your local neighbourhood or online,” Green says.
“A word of warning – glossy course websites promising outcomes abound. Shop around for courses, compare prices, check course accreditations and see if you are entitled to any government assistance.”
DISCOVER NEW SKILLS
Unpaid work is relevant, which Green says she knows first-hand.
“As a parent, former committee volunteer, employee and now business owner, arguably the most challenging and skill-building ‘work’ I have undertaken over the past 20 years has been unpaid,” she says.
“A client on her career break had been on call 24/7 for a cat rescue shelter, was treasurer of a local prominent sporting club and helped a charity manage fundraising events.
“Being ‘unpaid’ she didn’t think it relevant to include on her CV, yet it deepened her credentials, displayed a communityminded approach and enhanced her employability.”
Reconnect with former colleagues, managers or clients, talk to friends, and do not be reluctant to ask for help.
Update or create a professional social media profile if you do not have one.
“For many occupations, professional networking sites are increasingly important for job searching, growing your professional connections and being found by recruiters,” Green says.
“Update your profile and photo, compare your profile to others and read up on tips (on how to maximise the social networking tool).”
ON TRACK: Career Confident director Helen Green gives advice for finding a job that matches your skills and values after taking a career break.